Five Years in Moscow

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Hmmm…I appear not to have posted for an entire year. But it’s time for this annual one, so here ’tis. I won’t post the links to the previous ones, since you just need to scroll down to the next post for those.

Five years. And since I will turn 50 in a couple of months, that means I’ve spent ten percent of my life here. I can’t really think of anything new that I want to add to my previous list of things to be thankful for, but I’ll update a couple:

My Perch: The church office moved recently, so I relocated to a space in a small business run by some friends. I am grateful for their hospitality and camaraderie. At any moment, I am not surprised to hear one or another of the guys humming or whistling a psalm or hymn…basically Ephesians 5:19ing it all over the place. They bless me. And make me wish I could whistle!

My Progress: I’ve been seeing the sort of spiritual growth that I’ve been fighting for for decades. More joy and more victory. Still a long way to go, but grateful to see the wheels turning.

OK, as I was typing, I thought of a couple more things:

My Persecutors: I’m not suffering any kind of big-time persecution, but I’ve attracted the occasional reviler and evil-sayer, so that’s cause for rejoicing and exceeding gladness.

My Prayer App: Huge recommend for PrayerMate. This has really helped me be more consistent in keeping a prayer list and following through with it. And that’s the foundation of loving my neighbors (and my aforementioned enemies) better.

Might keep this up next year…might not. We’ll see!

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Four Years in Moscow

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1 Year | 2 Years | 3 Years

I landed in Moscow four years ago today. Here are this year’s additions to the gratitude list:

    • My ’Pliance
      (Yeah, yeah, I’m cheating on the alliteration. So sue me.) About six weeks ago I became the proud owner of a CPAP. This nifty little appliance is truly the only weapon anyone needs to fend off the zombie apocalypse. Assuming, of course, that there’s only one zombie, and it happens to be oneself. I used to wake up every morning praying that I wouldn’t have to get up…and sometimes (increasingly often) just deciding to stay in bed all day. As I’ve gotten used to my new machine, there’ve been more and more mornings when I wake up rarin’ to get started on my to-do list. This being human business. I kinda like it.
    • My Pain
      Betcha weren’t expecting that one. Neither was I. As I’ve learned to be grateful for the hard things as well as the happy ones, I’ve mustered up gratitude for various difficult circumstances and for my place in God’s story. But one day last fall, it struck me that I needed to give thanks for the central pain in it all: loneliness. No. Way. was my first reaction. Not. A. Chance. But I Matthew 21:29’d it, and was able to be genuinely grateful by the end of the day. Can’t say I’ve maintained that attitude 24/7, but once begun is half done, so I’ll take what progress I can find. That loneliness has been the sharpest in the loss of the closest friend I’ve made since I moved here. I wrote about Eileen last year. We buried her yesterday. But I find I can give thanks even for her dying, because it was as beautiful as her living. God has been kind to her, to her family, to me, to all of us through all of it.

It’s been a hard year, but I’m happy to be right where He wants me to be.